ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Justice Hansen threw three touchdown passes to Kendall Sanders to help Arkansas State beat UCF 31-13 on Saturday night in the AutoNation Cure Bowl.
Hansen and Sanders hooked up for touchdown strikes of 12, 75 and 17 yards, but the biggest plays of the night came from the Red Wolves' special teams. They scored on a blocked punt and produced two turnovers that were turned into touchdowns.
Hansen completed 12 of 26 passes for 205 yards.
The Red Wolves (8-5) sealed the victory when they went up 31-13 on Sanders' 17-yard scoring reception early in the fourth quarter. That touchdown was set up after UCF returner Chris Johnson mishandled a punt and it was recovered by Logan Moragne at the Knights 37.
The tone for the special teams was set in the first quarter when Johnston White broke through the line to block Caleb Houston's punt and B.J. Edmonds fell on the ball in the end zone to put the Red Wolves ahead 7-0 in the first 4 minutes.
The Red Wolves took a 17-0 lead over the Knights (6-7) in the first quarter after a UCF fumbled kickoff return set up Hansen's 12-yard touchdown pass to Hansen.
UCF freshman quarterback McKenzie Milton and the offense couldn't get much going. Arkansas State's defensive front controlled the line of scrimmage and kept Milton off balance throughout. Milton completed 22 of 39 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown.
UCF: Clearly UCF coach Scott Frost wasn't comfortable letting Milton throw the ball down field and that hurt the offense. Jawon Hamilton found little running room with Arkansas State stacking the box and the short passing game to Tre'Quan Smith rarely produced the desired results in a disappointing showing in front of the Knights home crowd.
Arkansas State: While the special teams units made most of the highlight plays, the defense was dominant throughout. Defensive end Ja'Von Rolland-Jones and linebacker Chris Odom kept the pressure on Milton and didn't give Hamilton any running lanes.
UCF: The Knights could be a contender for the American Athletic Conference title next year but Milton has to take some big steps, especially with his mechanics. Too often he throws off his back foot which leaves passes well short of the receiver. Defensively Frost will have to find a way to replace his entire secondary.
Arkansas State: The Red Wolves lose quite a bit along the offensive line and on defense, but they have enough explosive players to run their string of postseason appearances to seven next season.